The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Headless Horseman Character Analysis

Also known as the Galloping Hessian of the Hollow. The Dutch wives of Sleepy Hollow especially enjoy telling ghost stories about the Headless Horseman, the ghost of a Hessian trooper (a German mercenary who fought for the British) whose head was blown off during the Revolutionary War. As the story goes, since his death, he leaves the churchyard where his body is buried each night and gallops off in search of his head.

Headless Horseman Quotes in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

The The Legend of Sleepy Hollow quotes below are all either spoken by Headless Horseman or refer to Headless Horseman. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
History and Storytelling Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Classics edition of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow published in 1999.
Main Story Quotes

The whole neighborhood abounds with local tales, haunted spots, and twilight superstitions; star shoot and meteors glare oftener across the valley than in any other part of the country, and the nightmare, with her whole ninefold, seems to make it the favorite scene of her gambols. The dominant spirit, however, that haunts this enchanted region, and seems to be commander-in-chief of all the powers of the air, is the apparition of a figure on horseback, without a head.

Related Characters: Diedrich Knickerbocker (speaker), Headless Horseman
Related Symbols: Head of the Headless Horseman
Page Number: 273
Explanation and Analysis:

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The story was immediately matched by a thrice marvelous adventure of Brom Bones, who made light of the galloping Hessian as an arrant jockey.

Related Characters: Diedrich Knickerbocker (speaker), Brom Bones, Headless Horseman
Related Symbols: Head of the Headless Horseman
Page Number: 290
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Headless Horseman Character Timeline in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

The timeline below shows where the character Headless Horseman appears in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Main Story
History and Storytelling Theme Icon
Reality, Imagination, and the Supernatural Theme Icon
War and Battle Theme Icon
...stories about their region. One of the most pervasive tales is that of the Headless Horseman, who rides by on horseback through the night—supposedly it is the ghost of a Hessian... (full context)
Reality, Imagination, and the Supernatural Theme Icon
It’s not only the inhabitants of Sleepy Hollow who tend to see the Headless Horseman riding by at night, but also anyone who stays in the valley for awhile, and... (full context)
History and Storytelling Theme Icon
Reality, Imagination, and the Supernatural Theme Icon
...Hollow and the fields, brooks, and haunted houses throughout it as their setting. The Headless Horseman, or Galloping Hessian of the Hollow, is one of them. Ichabod joins in with stories... (full context)
Reality, Imagination, and the Supernatural Theme Icon
...for those of a specter behind him, and a gust of wind for the Headless Horseman following him. But by morning, daylight cures him of all his fears. (full context)
History and Storytelling Theme Icon
Reality, Imagination, and the Supernatural Theme Icon
War and Battle Theme Icon
...Major André, the woman in white who haunts Raven Rock, and, above all, the Headless Horseman who has been recently spotted tethering his horse to churchyard graves. The church is isolated,... (full context)
Reality, Imagination, and the Supernatural Theme Icon
War and Battle Theme Icon
The guests tell of old Brouwer, who didn’t believe in ghosts until he met the Horseman on his way back from Sleepy Hollow. They raced each other on horseback until reaching... (full context)
Reality, Imagination, and the Supernatural Theme Icon
War and Battle Theme Icon
...trots along behind him. Ichabod immediately thinks of Brom Bones’ story about racing the Headless Horseman, but when he quickens his pace, his follower does as well. As they race up... (full context)
Reality, Imagination, and the Supernatural Theme Icon
War and Battle Theme Icon
...about the event, and conclude that Ichabod must have been carried off by the Headless Horseman. Since he didn’t have family or any debt, people soon forget about him. (full context)
History and Storytelling Theme Icon
Reality, Imagination, and the Supernatural Theme Icon
...generally the most knowledgeable in the village, insist that Ichabod was carried away by the Horseman. The story becomes a favorite one in the neighborhood, and since the bridge is feared... (full context)